Kindergarten Entry Profile (KEP)

What is the KEP?

The Kindergarten Entry Profile (KEP) Initiative is a voluntary standards-based assessment system (i.e., based on the Early Childhood Indicators of Progress, also known as the ECIPs) that honors local control by offering districts/charter schools a menu of comprehensive, developmentally appropriate assessment tools that help teachers and administrators understand what students know and are able to do at the start of kindergarten in order to support their success in kindergarten and beyond. Providing districts/charter schools with a menu of comprehensive, high-quality age-appropriate assessment tools provides participants with greater control over selecting an assessment tool that best meets the needs of their students, teachers, and administrators.

What is the Purpose of the KEP?

The purpose of the KEP Initiative is to provide teachers and administrators with meaningful data about their students’ learning that can be used to: (1) measure what children know and are able to do at the beginning of kindergarten, (2) tailor instruction based on each student's strengths and areas of growth, and (3) inform decisions about practice and programming so that schools are ready to support the success of all kindergarteners. Districts may also rely on the KEP to provide data for their World’s Best Workforce Plans goal “All children are ready for school.”

Background on the KEP-Approved Assessment Tools

Each of the KEP-approved assessment tools underwent a rigorous review to ensure that they are: (1) valid and reliable for use with kindergartners, (2) are aligned with the Early Childhood Indicators of Progress (ECIP) and Kindergarten Academic Standards, (3) represent a whole-child view of development and education, (4) provide real-time formative data that can be used to individualize instruction, and (5) rely on authentic assessment.

The Importance of Developmentally Appropriate Authentic Assessment

The use of authentic assessment provides teachers with multiple opportunities over an 8-10 week period to observe students demonstrating their knowledge and skills within their educational routine. Teachers may also rely on work samples, photographs, and videos to supplement their observations. Authentic assessment allows students to demonstrate skills verbally as well as non-verbally, which can be of particular importance for English learners and students who have significant delays or disabilities. Many child development and assessment experts also view authentic assessment as a more culturally and linguistically appropriate way to assess students.

The Benefits of Participating in the KEP

KEP assessment tools produce data that districts/charter schools can use to:

  • provide teachers and other educators with a holistic view of a child’s strengths and areas of growth based on their own unique identities, experiences, and development.
  • inform practice and programming (e.g., instruction, lesson plans, curriculum, resources and supports).
  • build coherence in Pre-k to third grade teaching and learning (e.g., strengthening transitions to kindergarten and professional development).
  • guide efforts to close the achievement gap or prevent one from opening (i.e., reporting on a district/charter school’s World’s Best Workforce Goal #1: All children are ready for school).
The KEP does not:

  • produce data that indicates whether a student is “ready or not ready” for kindergarten.
  • produce data that should be used to make high stakes decisions about children, teachers, or programs; require changes in curricula nor does it
  • require teachers to alter their instruction in order to assess their students (i.e., pulling students aside and asking them to perform certain tasks).

To Learn More about the KEP

To learn more about the KEP, please visit the subpage Additional KEP Information and Resources. Additionally, you can sign up for a KEP Interest Webinar whether you are a district or school who is thinking about joining the KEP or are someone who wants to learn more about the KEP. Administrators, teachers, and other stakeholders are invited. Each webinar will outline how the KEP works, the value of participating in the KEP, and the responsibilities associated with participation. In addition to the KEP Interest Webinars, MDE will host several “Office Hours.” Office Hours are an open forum that allows for a more in-depth conversation about your KEP questions or concerns. If your school or district is interested in participating, you may also contact

KEP Interest Webinars

Coming soon.

KEP Open Office Hours

Coming soon.

How does the KEP Work?

  • Participation is voluntary (all, or some, schools or teachers can participate).
  • Participants select one of the four KEP-approved assessment tools.
  • Minnesota Department of Education covers the cost of the assessment tool (participants get access to the tool for the full school year).
  • Teachers must attend a free training in their KEP assessment tool (administrators are encouraged to attend).
  • Teachers collect (and enter) data on their students during the first 8-10 weeks of school.
  • Minnesota Department of Education provides participants with a profile, in December, that shows what portion of students are meeting or exceeding age expectations (this is an administrative tool, not an instructional tool).
  • Minnesota Department of Education produces a report on KEP participants’ data each year (while the report is public, data is not reported by district).

KEP-Approved Assessment Tools:

  • Work Sampling System (WSS), published by Pearson
  • GOLD, published by Teaching Strategies
  • Desired Results Developmental Profile - Kindergarten (DRDP-K), published by WestEd and the California Department of Education
  • DevMilestones (aka Developmental Milestones, which is one of three instruments that are part of the Formative Assessment System for Teachers, or FAST), published by FastBridge Learning

KEP-Approved Assessment Tools for Use Prior to Kindergarten Entry

Although the KEP-approved assessment tools listed on this page are for use with kindergarten students, each assessment (or another version of the assessment) is appropriate for use with children prior to kindergarten entry. Using KEP-approved assessment tools across prekindergarten and kindergarten can provide rich information to help teachers and administrators facilitate smooth transitions to kindergarten.

Kindergarten to grade 12 administrators and principals are encouraged to work with administrators of voluntary prekindergarten and school readiness plus-funded programs as well as other early learning programs to determine how to build comprehensive assessment systems across ages and grades from pre-K to third grade. For more information regarding assessment options from the KEP menu for early learning programs serving children prior to kindergarten, please contact

KEP Assessment Tool Training Schedule (updated as new trainings become available)

In order to participate in the KEP, kindergarten teachers are required to attend an in-person training on the tool selected by their district or program. These trainings are free and CEUs are available. While attendance for administrators is not required, they are strongly encouraged to attend. Registration for trainings is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. For information on trainings, please email

Transforming the School Readiness Study into the KEP Initiative Report

This Transforming the School Readiness Study into the KEP Initiative report provides an overview of how and why MDE successfully developed a new, innovative, standards-based assessment model that honors local control. This report also reflects on the lessons learned from the first four years of the KEP as well as recommendations for the initiative moving forward.

Historical KEP/School Readiness Study Information

As part of the KEP pilot process, alignment studies were conducted between a number of early childhood assessments, Minnesota’s early learning standards (i.e., ECIPs), and Minnesota’s Academic Standards. The report Empirical Alignment of Assessments to Standards: A New Direction for Kindergarten Entry highlights this innovative process and findings regarding the empirical alignment of the early childhood assessments and the ECIPs.

Crosswalks to the 2017 ECIPs

The ECIPs were revised in 2017, and we are currently working on producing crosswalks with the KEP approved assessment tools with the 2017 ECIPs.

Crosswalks to the 2005 ECIPs

KEP Crosswalks: KEP Approved Assessments to the 2005 ECIPs
KEP Crosswalks: Minnesota  Kindergarten Academic Standards

Using the KEP for World's Best Workforce Reporting

World’s Best Workforce legislation requires all districts to plan for five overarching goals in measuring student performance. The first goal is that “all children are ready for school." The tools in the Kindergarten Entry Profile (KEP) provide a way to measure progress toward this goal and link early learning and kindergarten programs using data that relates to the standards. 

It is best practice to use an assessment tool that has evidence of validity and reliability; uses standard data collection procedures; is collected by licensed teachers and related service providers; is developmentally/linguistically and culturally appropriate; and provides valuable data for its intended purpose. Read more on the World's Best Workforce page, including the guidance document World’s Best Workforce Goal #1: All Children Ready for School Writing Goals and Strategies - 8/4/17

The following Frequently Asked Questions provide information for administrators and kindergarten teachers participating in the KEP and include information for early learning programs.
Kindergarten Entry Profile (KEP) FAQ For Administrators
Kindergarten Entry Profile (KEP) FAQ For Kindergarten Teachers 
Kindergarten Entry Profile (KEP) FAQ For Early Learning Programs